Economics is a social science that seeks to describe and analyse the production, distribution and consumption of wealth. It studies humankind in the ordinary business of life, examining the individual and social action most closely connected with the attainment and use of the material requirements of wellbeing.
Among other things, economists analyse the forces determining prices—not only the prices of goods and services but of the resources used to produce them. This field of study is called microeconomics, the part of economics that deals with the behaviour of individual entities such as consumers, business firms, traders, and farmers.
The other major branch of economics is macroeconomics, which focuses on topics such as the level of income in the whole economy, the volume of total employment, the flow of total investment, and so forth.
Current trends in economics
- Increasing uptake of data analytics, enabling companies and governmental organisations to make better business decisions
- Psychological insights into human behaviour are influencing economic models used by companies and governments
- The rise of impact evaluation, using sophisticated statistical software, to enable economists to distinguish causal from coincidental effects
- Accelerating pace of technological development, and its implications for the future of work
What does the future hold?
Most of the world's top economists share a common view: Economics will continue to play a significant role in identifying and solving some of the world's most important issues.
In this video, some Nobel Laureates discuss trends and events that will likely shape the evolution and influence of economics:
Nobel Laureates discuss the future of economics
What skills and attributes can I gain from my Economics major?
- An in-depth understanding of fundamental economics concepts and theories
- Ability to evaluate environmental, ethical and social issues from an economic perspective
- Policy evaluation skills
- Data analysis skills
- Strategic thinking skills
- Problem solving skills
- Relationship building and collaboration skills
- Oral and written communication skills
- Strong sense of ethics and professionalism
- A commitment to ongoing learning
Economics career options
Studying economics is a pathway to productive and rewarding work in corporations, small and medium enterprises in the private sector, or public sector organisations. A postgraduate qualification opens up further opportunities.
Potential roles include:
- Consultant to commercial banks or financial institutions
- Analyst for the Reserve Bank, Treasury, government departments, consulting firms or research institutes
- Trade policy adviser
- International trade consultant
- International business manager
- Financial market analyst
- Trade negotiator for New Zealand at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Geneva or in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) in Wellington
- Adviser for a NGO (non-governmental organisation)
- Economics expert in a management consulting firm
The BCom Economics major caters to a range of skills and career interests by offering four Economics tracks designed to prepare you for specialist careers paths.
- Economic analyst
- Economist (private or public sector)
- Policy analyst
- Policy consultant
- Policy manager
International Trade and Finance
- Manager or analyst (export credit, risk or financial markets)
- Trade consultant
- Trade policy analyst
- Data analyst
- Economic consultant
- Economic modeller/forecaster
- Economist (e.g., Central Bank or Treasury)
Where do Economics graduates work?
Many graduates work in research or advisory capacities, either for themselves (in economics consulting firms), in industry, or in government. They have a large variety of roles:
- As self-employed business owners or social entrepreneurs
- In financial institutions such as banks and insurance companies
- In large corporates, national and multinational
- In public sector organisations such as councils, hospitals and government ministries
- In economic consulting firms
- In not-for-profit organisations, NGOs and other social enterprises
University of Auckland clubs and societies for Economics students
The University of Auckland Economics Group
This is a student-run organisation for people who are interested in furthering their knowledge and understanding of economics. Learn more
Auckland University Commerce Students' Association
Auckland University Commerce Students Association (AUCSA) is the student hub of social and well-being activities within the Business School. Learn more
MADE (Make a Difference with Economics)
MADE aims to empower Economics students to make social change through the application of economic principles and analysis. Learn more
Professional associations for Economics students and graduates
New Zealand Association of Economists (NZAE)
Contact and membership information, vacancies, council members, membership profiles and details of NZAE conference proceedings.
New Zealand Association of Economists
NZ Institute of Economic Research (NZIER)
NZIER is an independent economic consultancy whose website provides information and publications on all economic matters in NZ.
NZ Institute of Economic Research
NZ Society of Actuaries
The professional body that ensures that work performed by actuaries in New Zealand meets internationally recognised professional standards.
NZ Society of Actuaries
Careers New Zealand
The Careers New Zealand website provides useful salary information for a range of business and industry roles, as well as information on the difference a qualification makes to what you are paid, and advice on negotiating your salary. You can also search for salary information by job.
Careers New Zealand
Occupation Outlook is a great tool for exploring study and career options, with extensive information on labour supply and demand in over 100 occupations in New Zealand. It outlines how to enter each role, how many are studying in related fields, how many are employed, and what the average incomes are. It also outlines the prospects of getting a job in that occupation once you have the necessary qualifications.
Prospects specialises in advice for UK university students and graduates. Much of the information is relevant to NZ students.